Mint Hill Elementary Selects New Mascot: The Mint Hill Manatees

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MINT HILL, NC – It’s official: Mint Hill Elementary School’s new mascot will be the Manatees!

Reaching the final stages of construction next to Mint Hill Middle School, Mint Hill Elementary is slated to welcome its first students in the fall.  As they began to count down to the grand opening, Mint Hill Elementary asked its future students for help in selecting a mascot for the new school. 

Aliyah's petitioned for the new mascot to be the manatee
Aliyah’s petitioned for the new mascot to be the manatee

Nine-year-old Aliyah Ahmed, who currently attends Bain Elementary, put forth for consideration the “underrated” manatee.  She’d seen a picture of one on the internet, but she didn’t know much about them.  The more she learned, the more she was convinced they were the perfect mascot for her new school.  The manatee lends itself naturally to the schools selected colors, sky blue and silver.  It’s cuddly, peace-loving nature is the perfect “vibe” for an elementary school.  And what better to embody the idea of a “champion” than an animal facing the threat of extinction?  

Aliyah was one of about 60 students to submit a choice for the school’s new mascot.  Nominees included everything from real animals like manatees and dolphins to mystical creatures like unicorns.  Those 60 were narrowed down to 10 in an online vote, and the ten finalists were then presented for a second round of voting.  Aliyah’s dad Kashif was her biggest cheerleader throughout this process, utilizing social media to encourage everyone to vote for Aliyah.  

With support from her dad and the community, Aliyah made it to the top ten!  On May 15, Mint Hill Elementary Principal Frederick “Rick” Mohrien announced the winner at a Meet & Greet at a local park.  As another future Mint Hill Elementary student reached in a box and pulled a stuffed manatee from it, Mohrien announced, “We will officially be the Mint Hill Manatees!”

Aliyah Ahmed will be in the 4th grade at Mint Hill Elementary next year
Aliyah Ahmed will be in the 4th grade at Mint Hill Elementary next year

Aliyah was thrilled to make such an impact on her future school.  “It felt really good,” she said.  “I thought maybe that will be that mascot for a hundred years!  It made me really excited.”

For Aliyah’s dad, it was a proud moment to see his daughter accomplish her goal.  “It was awesome just to see her leave her legacy at such a young age,” he said.  “I grew up here in Matthews,” he adds, “and when Lebanon Road Elementary first opened up, I was the first class to go there.  They had a mascot challenge, adn Leo the Leopard was actually my idea.  It was really fun to see the same thing happening with my youngest daughter.  It’s a proud moment for all of us and more important just to see her face when she won.” 

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Mary Beth Foster
Mary Beth Foster works part time as an essay specialist at Charlotte Latin School and full time as a mom to her eight-year-old daughter Hannah and her six-year-old son Henry. Prior to having children, she worked as a high school English teacher for nine years. Most recently, she chaired the English department at Queen's Grant High School. She and her husband have lived in Mint Hill with their children and their cats since 2011. Email: